Lack of Health Insurance is a Symptom  

March 26, 2012

The US Supreme Court has begun hearing arguments about the new US government-mandated health insurance plan, known as  the Affordable Care Act.  It is also known  in some circles, also as “Obamacare.”

Everyone will be required to be covered by health insurance, or they will be subject to a penalty that will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service.  There will be subsidies for those unable to afford the true costs of health insurance.

Many liberals are in favor of the the mandated insurance plan.  And, many conservatives are against it.  But, whether you support the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, or you are against it, there is no denying that paying for health care has become a major problem for our country.

We presently have 50 million Americans who do not have health insurance.   The number of uninsured has risen from the 32 million that we had in 1987, the year that the Census Bureau began collecting health insurance data.

In just 10 years, the percent of uninsured has risen from 13% in 2000 to more than 16% in 2010.  Millions of other Americans are having difficulty paying their ever-rising insurance premiums.  And this is in the most prosperous country in the history of the world.

Although I think that most Americans, Republicans and Democrats, would agree that everyone needs access to affordable health care, the differences are about how to pay for it.  Some want the government to pay for health care for all, while others think that it is better for the private market to provide affordable health care.

But, the lack of health insurance and unaffordable insurance premiums are symptoms of our sick economy.  In a prosperous economy, there is money available for more health care.  But, in a declining economy, more employers stop providing health insurance for employees, and there is less money available for health care provided by the government because of decreasing tax revenues.

With our surplus of workers who are jobless, it is becoming less and less necessary for companies to offer health insurance as a benefit to attract good workers.  In a tight labor market, companies would need to offer more benefits, such as health insurance.

We are in a downward spiral, and our politicians are doing nothing to stop the pillaging of our economy by the big corporations who are sending our factories and our well-paying jobs to China and other low-wage countries.

One Response to Lack of Health Insurance is a Symptom

  1. TaxiDriver on March 31, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Politicians care most about getting re-elected. So long as the people remain ignorant of “why” the economy is spiraling down, the politicians will have no reason to respond to the true problem. Furthermore, since corruption in Washington is growing, the politicians are more concerned with feathering their nests by securing cushy jobs after they leave office in exchange for political favors.

    They are also the main reason that health care is not affordable. Even the name “health care,” which is propaganda in itself, is symptomatic. In reality, anyone who isn’t afflicted with a specific illness is healthy. They used to call it medical insurance. But then the respective legislatures and the courts decided to second guess everything, requiring medical insurance to pay for anything that doctors decided to term as a medical condition.

    In the 1960’s, nobody would have thought that minor neuroses were medical conditions, and we had state hospitals to handle psychotic patients on the state’s dime. They have since closed down all the state hospitals, and kicked the psychotic patients to the curb (which is why we say the homeless are largely mentally ill – they used to live at the state hospitals).

    After minor neuroses, things like alcoholism and drug addiction became termed “diseases” requiring medical treatment. The premiums for anyone who has a “health care” policy include paying for rehab for drunks and druggies at 50 grand a pop, and usually these “patients” have to return for this rehab two or three times. That never would have flown in the 70’s. The legislatures and the courts have backed up the doctors on this, saying “well, if you are going to sell medical insurance, then you have to cover all medical problems, not just the ones you pick and choose.

    Insurance companies countered by offering a new type of plan called the HMO, which stands for Health Maintenance Organization. The idea behind the HMO was that an ounce of prevention was worth a pound of cure, so instead of what they used to call “major medical” insurance (which only covered *major* issues usually requiring hospitalization or outpatient surgery), there was the HMO act of 1973, in which the Fed Legislature required every employer with over 25 employees to offer HMO coverage to their employees if they offered any other medical insurance benefits.

    Meanwhile, the Trial Lawyers Association successfully lobbied heavily against any kind of medical malpractice regulation (i.e. tort reform), so medical malpractice insurance premiums continued to skyrocket, adding to the cost of medical care (it’s not really health care — doctors don’t do anything to maintain health, they merely address the issue when health is absent).

    Ultimately, the medical field has fallen into a protective umbrella that minimizes competition, and requires providers to be paid whatever they can prove on paper that they need to get paid. Mind you, if I could get paid what I can prove on paper that I need to get paid, I would have a 7 figure salary, easily.

    So it’s the government that wrecked the medical field in the first place by destroying competition, pinning insurance companies with unreasonable requirements, and abetting doctors and malpractice lawyers by catering to their every whim.

    Do you think you should have to pay for some drunk to spend 30 days in rehab at $1500 a day? The legislature does, and the courts do.

    This is what’s wrong with the “health care” industry – it is the mess that the government made of it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *